View Full Version : how can I keep the edge of cut cloth from fraying without hemming?

10-02-2010, 03:13 PM
Title sez it all. But in case you're still unclear...

I want to decorate a plain tote into a book bag to use as part of my donation for a fundraiser. I was thinking of putting "books" on the side (or something more interesting if I can think of it--ideas, anyone?) and spelling it in letters cut from cloth. But rather than sewing the letters I was just going to use fusible webbing to glue it on. Since I won't be hemming the letters, how can I keep the edges from fraying? I think I've heard of some kind of liquid stuff you can paint on the end of cut ribbon to stop it from fraying...does that really exist, and can I use that? Can I use clear nail polish like I would on nylons? :giggle Does running the edge through a flame to singe it a little work?

10-02-2010, 03:16 PM
There is a fabric edge sealer called Fray Check that might work for that. I've only used it on small places, though, so I'm not positive. :shrug3

10-02-2010, 03:20 PM
Heating only works with 100% synthetics (polyester), and makes kind of a nasty hard edge of lumpy melted plastic. Cottons will actualy burn to ash and still fray. :doh

The stuff is called Fray Check, and it's pretty cheap and easy to apply. I don't think it's all that visible. Might want to try one on something else first, just in case.

The fusible web itself might prevent most fraying. :think

I've seen the letters traced in paint before. Not too elegant or even, but it works for a while.

I've also heard of zig-zagging or serging the edges of the letters...probably a pain on the bag itself, but maybe before putting the letters on. Lots of work, though, compared to the other options.

10-02-2010, 03:24 PM
Fray check will do the trick, but there is a product called Fray Block (http://www.amazon.com/Fray-Block-1-1-2-Ounces/dp/B000YZAR3G) that is even better. I think Walmart even sells it. :yes

10-02-2010, 03:36 PM
Thank you!!

10-03-2010, 06:03 AM
On the bags I made for the boys last weekend, I zig-zag'd the edges as I sewed the letters to the bags. I really wasn't that bad on the straight parts, I hated the curves, just because they were annoying to do short curves the longer curves weren't bad at all. The "S" is the worst and I have to get used to that if I make anymore bags since it starts our last name.

http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss108/mipennsn/sewing%20projects/th_aa44b0b5.jpg (http://s566.photobucket.com/albums/ss108/mipennsn/sewing%20projects/?action=view&current=aa44b0b5.jpg) http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss108/mipennsn/sewing%20projects/th_668fe401.jpg (http://s566.photobucket.com/albums/ss108/mipennsn/sewing%20projects/?action=view&current=668fe401.jpg)

"Tight" wovens are better than "loose" wovens in terms of fraying. The jean one was a "loose" woven and it was hard to catch all the edges. The green was decor fabric sample and was beautiful to work with. I didn't have any fusible to use, so I used washable gluesticks to hold the letters still while I sewed around them.

Hope that helps you know what to do. I did both of this bags in an afternoon.

Chaos Coordinator
10-03-2010, 06:05 AM
if you use a knit, it wont fray.

a woven fabric will though.

it can be kind of trickier to applique a knit because they stretch slightly. but if you are ironing it on, its less tricky than trying to sew it on.

10-03-2010, 09:54 AM
I do a zig-zag along the edge of fabric to keep it flat and unfrayed if that is an option.

10-03-2010, 03:06 PM
I like pinking shears. You can also fold raw edges to the inside and stitch, but that might be difficult on little appliques.

ellies mom
10-04-2010, 02:13 PM
Well, you can hand applique it and turn the edges under as you go or machine applique and zig-zag the edges down.

But another option is to turn the frayed edges into a "design feature". And just sew it on with a straight stitch 1/8-1/4 of an inch away from the edge and then let it fray. I've seen some really cute shirts where they used two lines of stitching in contrasting colors. You can still use fusible webbing, just allow a little extra cloth around the edge for the fraying. Or fuse the whole thing and allow whatever lifts through use and washing to lift and consider it part of the look.